toddler boy with parent learning to walk
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Kristin Fuerst

Keeping Baby Safe on the Move

Read on for expert tips and advice that’ll help you smooth the transition as baby starts crawling and walking.

In a dream world…

It’s a thrill to see baby scooting, crawling, cruising and finally walking around on her own. It’s kind of like being back in elementary school when you saw the butterfly you raised from a tiny caterpillar fly for the first time, but about three zillion times cooler. Sure, she takes a tumble every now and then, but no worries—she’s sticking to the play area you diligently covered with foam mats. You sit back, take it all in and yell, “Go, baby, go!” as you snap a ton of photos.

In reality…

That lingering baby weight you’ve been wanting to lose? You’re well on your way, now that you’re running around the house trying to keep her out of, let’s be real, everything. Stay away from the fireplace! Leave the dog bowl alone! Don’t pull on the drapes! All of a sudden you see sharp edges and scary safety hazards everywhere you look—even that soft, fluffy pillow screams problematic, right?!

Make this milestone easier

Gear up
Childproofing items may not be the prettiest, but the trade-off for peace of mind is well worth it. When it comes to installing them, keep in mind the earlier, the better. And remember: Kids are like ninjas. With determination and observation, baby may figure out how to get past these guards, so keep those eyes in the back of your head on high alert.

Let her loose
Now that she’s exploring and getting around by herself, cut back on the time she spends in a stroller, seat or any other contraption that straps her in and restricts her movement. Not only will “free time” encourage her to get a move on, which helps build muscles and coordination, but she’ll also be less likely to cry out for freedom.

Be patient
We know you know this, but not all children crawl and walk on the same schedule; there can even be a lot of variation among siblings. Resist the urge to compare baby to others (and drive yourself crazy in the process). Most kids begin crawling between 6 and 10 months of age, though some may start earlier or later—or skip this stage entirely. But if you’re worried that baby’s not making progress, definitely touch base with your pediatrician to discuss your concerns.

Mom-tested helpers

Because we know how strapped you are for time, we rounded up sanity-saving products from Walmart that’ll help you and baby breeze through this milestone. Instead of heading to a million different stores, you can make one stop for everything your family needs—even groceries. Looking for a bigger time saver? Order these items online while baby’s napping and have them shipped direct, or do a same-day pickup at your local store later.

1. Evenflo Position and Lock Classic Gate
Corral baby in the playroom, kitchen or wherever you need to keep her close with this no-assembly, no-drilling-required gate that fits in just about any doorway.

2. Baby Einstein Discovering Music Activity Table
Detachable legs make this another toy baby can use at multiple stages (in other words: less kid stuff cluttering your living room). With its easy-to-press buttons that play classical melodies and piano sounds, she can channel her inner Beethoven.

3. Safety 1st Essentials Baby Proofing Kit
On first glance, this set contains four doorknob covers, 12 cabinet or drawer latches and 30 plug protectors. In reality, that’s 46 opportunities for Mom to win the War of the Curious Mobile Toddler. Victory!

4. North States Superyard XT Portable Playard
Perfect for outdoor play or a room with multiple doorways, this 360-degree solution lets you set up a secure island wherever you need it. (Maybe even wrap it around your Christmas tree to keep baby from using your ornaments for pitching practice.)

5. Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Bounce, Stride and Ride Elephant
This grows-with-baby toy wins the multitasking award. As baby gets bigger, she can sit on it to bounce or scoot across the floor and stand behind it and push it as a walker.

6. Gerber Baby Infant Boy Striped Hightop Roar Dino Sneakers
Soft, flexible soles help encourage natural foot movement, which is key for new walkers. That and, you know, they’re just really ridiculously cute.

The Bump teamed up with Walmart to bring you Real-Life Milestone Moments, a sponsored series full of solutions for the big, sometimes bumpy, journey through parenthood. With sanity-saving products and services like same-day pickup and stores open 24/7, Walmart is all about making life easier for new moms.

Photo: iStock